Category: Home Office & Productivity

Time to Refinance the Mortgage?

Is it time to refinance the mortgage?

Deciding whether to refinance your mortgage is more than a matter of “rates are down let’s do it.” Unless you do the homework, refinancing can actually cost more in the long run. I refinanced in 2018. Rates have dropped, but in my case refinancing now doesn’t make sense. Here are some tips and links to help you decide if this is a good time to refinance your mortgage. And if it is, how to do it efficiently, saving both time and money. 1. Things to know before you start Mortgage terminology. Find definitions of key terms at consumerfinance.gov. Things to consider before refinancing. See the article at kiplinger.com. Warning: Do not click on ads offering “free” mortgage refinance calculators. See #2, below. How long you plan to stay in your home. Tip: If you plan to sell in one or two years, refinancing probably doesn’t make sense. Your current loan terms, monthly payment, balance and interest rate. Tip: Unless interest rates are at least half a percent less, refinancing probably isn’t worth the cost. Estimated value of your home. See zillow.com for a rough estimate based on similar homes nearby. Not totally reliable, but better than paying an appraiser at […]

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The Real ID: Do You Really Need it?

The Real ID or a passport will be required to fly in the U.S. starting October 1, 2020

The government has changed the deadline for obtaining a Real ID from October 2020 to October 2021. Due to the Corona crisis, some states’ DMV offices are closed. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure your local office is open. Meanwhile, you may have questions. What is The Real ID? Do I really need it? By when? How and when can I get it? If so, you’ve come to the right place for answers. What’s The Real ID? The Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or identification card that meets increased federal security standards. Real ID’s have a star on the upper right corner. Starting October 1, 2021, travelers must provide a Real ID or other approved form of identification such as a valid passport to board domestic airlines, enter Federal buildings or visit military installations. Who needs it? If you have a valid U.S. passport you don’t really need a Real ID, but I highly recommend having both. If you depend on your passport and accidentally let it expire or lose it, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise next time you try to board a commercial airline. Tip: If you plan to use your passport, make sure […]

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Change Clocks and Smoke Alarm Batteries Sunday

Change Your Clocks, Spring forward

In San Francisco we’re having a hard time believing that spring arrives soon! It seems like we haven’t seen the sun in months and rainfall records are broken almost every day. But the calendar doesn’t lie. And along with spring comes Daylight Saving Time. The only U.S. states that don’t change their clocks twice a year are Hawaii and Arizona. Here are a few timely tips (pun intended) to help get your spring off to a good start. Clocks “spring forward” one hour Sunday at 2 AM. Change the clocks before you go to bed Saturday night. Don’t forget your watches…including the ones you keep in the dresser drawer. Remember to change the clock on your car dashboard. While you’re at it, change the smoke alarm batteries. Replace the batteries in hard wired smoke alarms, too. The batteries in hard wired alarms provide backup in case of a power outage caused by things like fire or natural disasters. Check the year your smoke alarm was manufactured. It should be shown on the unit. If it’s close to ten years old, it’s time to replace it. Make sure you have the right kind of replacement batteries for your smoke alarms. And […]

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Learn How to Stop Robocalls and Texts

Stop robocalls and texts

Do you want to know how to stop robocalls and texts? Whether it’s a mobile phone or land line, you’ve probably answered a call that’s an unwanted sales pitch or recorded message. There are laws against unwanted calls and text messages, but marketers and scam artists find ways to get around the rules faster than they can be updated. What you should know about robocalls and texts Not all robocalls are illegal. For instance, market research or polling calls to home land lines are not restricted by FCC rules. Calls on behalf of non-profit groups and calls informing you of things like school closings or flight information are allowed without consent. With a few exceptions auto-dialed or prerecorded calls to wireless phones are prohibited without prior consent. Emergency calls regarding danger to life or safety are allowed. What you can do to limit or stop robocalls and texts Visit the FCC guide for the latest tips on how to stop unwanted robocalls and texts. Register with the U.S. government Do Not Call List. If the caller is a real person ask them to add you to their “do not call” list before hanging up. Don’t interact with robocalls. Hang up. […]

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